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The Great Preamp Shootout - D16 vs. U5 vs. DB680

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by vanselus, Apr 15, 2003.

  1. vanselus


    Sep 20, 2000
    Boulder, CO
    10 basses. 3 preamps. 30 recordings.

    There's a lot of hype about all the different preamps out there. My buddy Josh (funkyj) and I decided to do a head-to-head comparison of two pre's, against direct-to-HD. We're not pros, and we weren't thinking about things like technique, style, or EQ - we originally did this because we were curious, but it turned out to be so interesting we thought you all might enjoy the results.

    Now we're not recording wizards either - we turned the damn things on, set flat for a pure comparison. And the recorder isn't pure studio magic, its a Korg D-16. But you'll be amazed at how different the pre's sound - and which basses sound good through which pre's!

    THE GREAT PREAMP SHOOTOUT (http://vanselus.com/preamp)

    Added bonus: you get to hear these basses in action, un-EQ'd:

    MTD 535
    Sadowsky V5
    Fodera Emp 5
    Elrick NJS 5 #1
    Elrick NJS 5 #2
    Upright Bass
    NS CR5M
    Flea 4
    Casady Signature

    OH and... let us know what you think!
  2. Phat Ham

    Phat Ham

    Feb 13, 2000
    Thanks for all the sound bytes. Those Elricks sure sound sweet.
  3. man, that had to be fun! ill listen when i get home.

    BTW, Todd, you have one of the most appealing sites i've seen yet. clean, clear, good navigation. Good stuff.
  4. vanselus


    Sep 20, 2000
    Boulder, CO
    Phat Ham - You're totally welcome, it was fun. And yes, Elrick makes a mean bass - Josh loved mine so much he bought 2 for himself!!

    not78 - Thanks a lot, bro I appreciate it! It WAS lots of fun :)
  5. basss

    basss Supporting Member

    Aug 27, 2001
    GREAT!!! I'm suprised there isn't more of this kind of thing out there, what with all the gearnuts that hang here. Thanks again.
  6. CaptainWally

    CaptainWally Supporting Member

    Oct 21, 2000
    Sandy Eggo, CA
    Wonderful idea...

    Add more preamps (the usual suspects) and you'll be able to sell ads on this thing!
  7. jokerjkny


    Jan 19, 2002
    NY / NJ / PHL
    Van, Van, Van...

    too many basses & pre's, and just no way to come over your house!!!!

  8. vanselus


    Sep 20, 2000
    Boulder, CO
    hey, we've got the basses, if anyone wants to send beautiful preamps, hell, feel free! :)

    and JOKER - come on buddy! you know you're a guest in my house anytime you want. Don't worry, i'm not trying to take over your throne of "the funky carnivore of the amp forum".

  9. Thanks so much for all of your time and trouble, Vanselus. It's wonderful to get the chance to hear your "leet" gear, and get a taste of the character of the different basses.

    There are actually a few that I don't mind at all... :rolleyes:

    One certainly has to respect the wonderous DB680's warm character with just the right amount of glass!
  10. FunkyJ


    Jan 31, 2003
    Tracy, CA
    Since I'm the co-conspirator for "The Great Preamp Shootout" I thought I should add my two cents.

    Glad you guys like the clips. Sorry for some of the bad playing, but as you can see we had a lot of stuff to record. :D

    It was pretty surprising how much better ALL the basses sounded through the outboard preamps. Overall, they sounded cleaner, clearer, and more articulate, plus all the little nuances of the sound come out. Then even more surprising was how the sound of the two outboard pre's really brought out the sound of different basses--some sounded better through the Avalon, some through the Aguilar.

    I'm definitely interested in hearing what everybody else's conclusions are from the shootout, so post away!!
  11. The Rokaxe clips sounded best!
  12. CaptainWally

    CaptainWally Supporting Member

    Oct 21, 2000
    Sandy Eggo, CA
    Well, it seems to me that the tone is not affected much by the preamp. The basses have a more pronounced sound difference, but not as much as I thought they would. The differences are all but nominal and I would have to work hard to pickup out a particular instrument from the herd.

    If anything, this is a reminder to me that my gear should take a back seat to what bass playing is really about: playing good music! :)

    Well done, gentlemen...
  13. vanselus


    Sep 20, 2000
    Boulder, CO
    You KNOW it baby!

    - Todd "trained by funky & joker" VanSelus
  14. emjazz

    emjazz Supporting Member

    Feb 23, 2003
    Bronx, NY
    I really love that U5. That thing sounds great.
  15. PICK


    Jan 27, 2002
    Sydney, Australia
    One of the best things i have got from the 'net in along time. YOU GUYS RULE.:bassist:
  16. BassPulsar


    Oct 16, 2002
    Oh....... Did I mention Thank you!!!!!!!
  17. Outstanding! In every case, I like the recorder the best. I really don't think the pre-amps added anything of substance to the tone. Given the level on control offered by onboard pre-amps, you might do as well just plugging straight into a power-amp.
  18. vanselus


    Sep 20, 2000
    Boulder, CO
    I have a question for you all - Nightbass lives near me, and he's graciously offered his Demeter 201s, Alembic F1-X, SWR IOD, & SWR GP to add to the list.... hmm....

    ya'll think we should do it? Or was this conclusive enough?

    Thanks - Josh told me today he thinks we contributed something real to the bass world. It's a great feeling that you all like what we did. So THANKS! :)
  19. David Wilson

    David Wilson Administrator Staff Member Administrator Supporting Member

    Oct 14, 2002
    Lower Westchester, NY
    do it! do it! do it!


    loved the shootout, and it's great to hear a range of pre's played with the same range of basses and settings. Makes for a much more balanced test.

    It IS a good thing for the bass community. Being able to hear the sounds is much better than having to rely on the qualitative terms we use - 'warm','fat','dry','buttery'

    I live on the east coast, I'd be willing to ship you my Kern and Warwick Quadruplet if you wanted to test those out also!
  20. vanselus


    Sep 20, 2000
    Boulder, CO
    Wow David - that's incredibly generous!! Maybe next time we'll do it right too - grab the ADAT and the nice Alesis board and make this a little more serious...

    Thanks for the offer!